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Consumers (21-06-2006)

Commission seeks views on the Unit Prices Directive

The European Commission has today adopted a Communication on the implementation of the Unit Prices Directive (1998/6/EC) in the Member States.
The Commission wishes to consult interested parties as to the impact of the Directive on the internal market and the overall level of consumer protection. To this end, the Communication contains questions for consultation.
All interested parties are invited to submit replies to the Commission by 1 September 2006.
The Unit Prices Directive of 1998 requires traders to indicate both the selling price and the price per unit on all products they offer consumers, e.g. the price per litre, kilogram, metre, square metre etc. The aim is to facilitate price comparison and improve consumer information.
The Directive states that this information must be unambiguous, clearly legible and easy to identify. If advertising mentions the selling price it must also indicate the unit price. For products sold in bulk, only the unit price must be indicated.
All Member States have introduced national laws transposing the requirements of the Directive. However, in some areas there are significant differences between Member States. For instance, Member States may stipulate certain products that are exempt from having to carry a unit price in their countries (for instance, some Member States have exempted ready meals made of a number of different products, cooking herbs sold in pots, chocolate eggs etc).
Member States may also exempt small retail businesses or, for instance, certain types of itinerant trade, e.g. mobile stallholders, from the requirement of having to display unit price for a transitional period. Member States have taken different approaches to these exemptions.
The Communication will now be sent to the European Parliament and Council.
Further information: